Sunday, September 6, 2009

Renovation begins on medieval Polish synagogue

Nearly 400 years after it was built, the grand Renaissance-style synagogue in the southeastern Polish town of Zamosc is getting a much-needed facelift.
Zamosc is located in the Lublin district, approximately 70 km. from the Ukrainian border.
In addition to a hall that will be used for prayer services, lectures and concerts, plans call for the structure to house a tourist information center as well as a museum that will celebrate the history of the area's Jews.
The exhibits will utilize advanced multimedia technology, and will incorporate innovative programs such as a "virtual tour" of Jewish shtetls that dotted the region before the Holocaust.
Considered an architectural gem, the Zamosc shul was one of the first properties to be officially returned to the Jewish community by the Polish government nearly a decade ago, noted Krawczyk, whose foundation is responsible for safeguarding Jewish cultural, historical and religious sites throughout the country.
Zamosc's synagogue is believed to have been built between 1610 and 1618. Among those who preached there was the famed Dubno maggid, Rabbi Yaakov Kranz, who passed away in Zamosc in 1804 and was buried in the local Jewish cemetery.
Only a handful of Jews remain in Zamosc, which was home to 12,000 Jews, or nearly half the town's population, on the eve of World War II. (JPOST)

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